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Christmas in Devon 2024 – brilliant festive family events

Christmas in Devon 2024 – brilliant festive family events

I may be biased but Christmas in Devon is wonderful. Here’s my guide to what to expect in Devon this December. It includes where you’ll find Christmas events at attractions as well as festive shows, light trails and Santa himself!

*PLEASE NOTE: this guide is under construction for Christmas 2024 as dates for many events are still to be announced. Read on to find out what was on last year.

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

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Christmas in Devon: the ultimate guide for families

Grab your Santa hats and prepare your waistline for mince pies aplenty as Devon gets set for Christmas.

Below you’ll discover:

  • free things to do this Christmas
  • shows and pantomimes
  • switching on of Christmas lights
  • where to meet Santa in Devon
  • Devon Christmas markets
  • Christmas light trails
  • Christmas craft workshops
  • Santa steam trains and the Polar Express in Devon
  • what’s on at National Trust places
  • and oodles of festive cheer.

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

You might also like to take some Christmas present inspiration from my Devon gift guide. And here’s a very Devon stocking filler!

Devon Colouring Book for Kids cover with pencils fanned out below
£5.95 +P&P *Supporting Devon Air Ambulance Trust*

Here’s what you can expect Christmas to look like in 2024:

Free things to do this Christmas

There’s no getting away from the fact Christmas can be expensive.

So, let me point you in the direction of some free festive fun this winter including light and treasure trails, where to meet Santa for free and light switch ons with free entrainment.

Read my full guide to free things to do in Devon this Christmas.

Here’s some more free things to do in Devon.

Christmas shows and pantomimes in Devon

Here are the Christmas shows and pantomimes happening in Devon in 2024:

Cinderella at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter – 28 November 2024 – 5 January 2025

After year-on-year record-breaking success, Exeter Northcott and Le Navet Bete team up once again to bring you this fabulous modern take on a classic story.

Expect plenty of laughs, great music, amazing special effects and full-on-fun for every generation with this fabulous rags-to-riches tale.

Book tickets on the Northcott Theatre website.

Elf! The Musical at Barnfield Theatre in Exeter – 4 to 14 December 2024

Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. He then returns to New York City to find his birth father and help the people of The Big Apple rediscover the true meaning of Christmas!

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

*Santa’s Christmas Wish at Pavilions Teignmouth – 2 December 2023

This festive family show takes you on a musical adventure with the aim of giving Santa the very best Christmas. You can then meet him at his home in the North Pole!

Every child will also receive a special present from Father Christmas.

Find out more and book tickets on the Pavilions website.

Christmas shows at The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Plymouth – 14 to 24 December 2024


Visit The Soapbox Children’s Theatre website to get more information and book tickets.

Jack and the Beanstalk, at Princess Theatre, Torquay – 13 December 2024 – 4 January 2025

This Festive season panto magic will be sprinkled in abundance at the Princess Theatre in Torquay as it welcomes a new, multi-award-winning pantomime production Jack and the Bean Stalk.

Join Jack, Dame Trott, and the lovable Clarabelle the Cow for an unforgettable escapade filled with FE-FI-FO-FUN! This spectacular production will transport you to a world of magic beans, a majestic castle in the clouds, and a walking, talking, and rather bad-tempered Giant. It’ll be the STALK of the town, and you won’t want to miss a moment of this magical extravaganza!

Find out more and book tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk.

*Jack and the Beanstalk at RHS Rosemoor – 10 December 2023

RHS Rosemoor is hosting Wonder Pantomimes for a pop up performance of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Times are hard for the Trott family, they have no money which means they can’t afford to pay the rent. The only thing they have of any value is their beloved cow, which they decide that they must sell. But when Jack is sent to market something magical happens.

Find out more and get tickets on the RHS Rosemoor website.

*Dear Santa at Exeter Northcott Theatre – 13 to 24 December 2023

Dear Santa Live promotions image

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with author Rod Campbell’s festivestoryDear Santa.

From the author of the popular children’s book Dear Zoo, DearSanta is the perfect Christmas treat for the under seven’s. Packed with Christmas songsand lots of audience participation there is also the chance to meet and receive anexclusive Christmas gift from Santa himself!

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

Beauty and the Beast at Queens Theatre, Barnstaple – 12 to 31 December 2024

The Queen’s Theatre brings you a Tale as old as time – Beauty and the Beast!

Be our guest in the magical land of Pantopia, where the air is filled with laughter and every twist and turn is a spectacle of joy.

This production is a feast for the senses, a celebration of love, and a guaranteed rollercoaster of emotions, sprinkled with side-splitting humour and heartwarming moments for the whole family.

Find out more and book tickets for Beauty and the Beast

*Once Upon a Christmas at Torre Abbey, Torquay – 14 December 2023

Boo to a Goose Theatre company are putting on this interactive, multi-sensory show for children in Early Years up to age eight.

It is set in the home of Mother and Father Christmas by the festive fireplace as they prepare for the big day, with scents of Christmas spices and gingerbread. Join the merry couple as they share seasonal stories, songs and memories.

Find out more and book tickets on the Torre Abbey website.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Theatre Royal Plymouth – 13 December to 11 January 2025

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be spectacularly brought to life with an abundance of comedy, sensational song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes and stunning scenery. Throw in a magical mirror, the magnificent seven and plenty of audience participation and you have the perfect recipe to outwit the Wicked Queen and let love prevail in this glittering festive treat for all ages.

With amazing special effects, stunning sets and beautiful costumes direct from The London Palladium, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will take your whole family on a magical panto adventure like never before!

Find out more and book tickets for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

*Peter Pan, The Big Sheep, Bideford – 16 to 17 December 2023

Fly away on the adventure of a lifetime this Christmas as Peter Pan swoops into The Big Sheep!

Featuring a motley crew of professional actors playing all the characters you know and love, some spectacular swashbuckling, and a whole host of songs to sing along to, this is a fabulous Christmas feast for all ages.

Tickets for this pop up panto include access to the Ewetopia indoor playzone.

Find out more and buy tickets on The Big Sheep website.

Sleeping Beauty at the Palace Theatre, Paignton – 21 December 2024 to 5 January 2025

Paignton Pantomime Productions will be back on stage this year with Sleeping Beauty this Christmas.

It’s set to be a spectacular traditional pantomime full of colour, song, dance, wit and audience participation.

For more information and to book tickets, see The Palace Theatre Paignton website.

Peter Pan at Exeter Corn Exchange – 14 December 2024 to 1 January 2025


Following our biggest ever success last year with ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Exeter Corn Exchange presents THE HIGH-FLYING PANTOMIME: Peter Pan!

Fly with us to the most adventurous and hilarious of all pantomimes, with all the fun our shows are now famous for! The festive tale is told with merriment and melody- plus a big dollop of slapstick fun and silly sing-alongs!

Join a host of classic characters for songs, laughter and a perfect Christmas family highlight! Will Peter Pan fly high over Neverland, or will the villainous Captain Hook bring him down to Earth with a bump? Corn Exchange favourite, Matt Finegan, returns and guarantees… you’ll be HOOKED!

Find out motor and book tickets on the Exeter Corn Exchange website.

*Five Children and It at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 17 to 28 December 2023

This Christmas, join the Psammead and five children for a fresh, festive take on a childhood classic, as E. Nesbit’s beloved children’s book is retold by Quirk Theatre.

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Phoenix website.

*Born to Sleigh with Paulos Circus at Greendale Farm Shop – 18 December 2023 to 7 January 2024

Promotional image for Paulos Circus at Greendale Farm

Enter Paulos yuletide big top this winter for an experience stuffed fuller than a Christmas stocking.

With gravity-defying aerialists, breathtaking acrobatics and plenty of laughter, ‘Born to Sleigh!’ promises to be more christmassy than Father Christmas’s lucky Christmas underpants. At least that’s what the promotional material says!

Find out more and book tickets on the Christmas Circus website.

The Snow Queen at The Beehive – 20 December 2024

The Beehive in Honiton is hosting The Snow Queen by Theatrix Arts .The Toy Maker is in his workshop, making toys for the children when all of a sudden they come to life to tell the story of The Snow Queen. Follow Gerda on her adventures as she sets out to rescue her brother Kai from the evil Snow Queen who is holding him prisoner in her ice palace and meet the magical creatures who help her on her mission.

Find out more and get tickets on the Beehive website.

Cinderella Pantomime at Exmouth Pavilion – 21 December 2024 to 1 January 2025

Trio Entertainment return this Christmas to follow the rags to riches tale where dreams come true with a special invitation to the Ball.

Cinderella is doomed to live un-happily ever after with her two horrible Ugly Sisters, but she manages with the help of her ‘silly’ friend Buttons and a ‘magical’ Fairy Godmother to make all her dreams come true!

Find out more and book tickets.

*Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Pavilions Teignmouth – 23 to 30 December 2023

Join the Teignmouth Players for this traditional pantomime with slapstick, songs, dances, and humour.

Find out more and book on the Pavilions website.

Beauty and the Beast at Barnfield Theatre in Exeter – 30 December to 2 January 2025

Be our guest this Christmas and enjoy a tale as old as time with Wonder Pantomimes as they bring the story of Beauty and the Beast to the Barnfield this festive season as part of a six-week national tour.

Join bookworm Belle who lives a quiet provincial life, but it quickly turns to danger when she finds herself imprisoned by a hideous Beast. Will the Beast learn how to love and be loved in return? Will Belle melt the Beast’s frosty heart? Will the spell be broken before the last rose petal falls?

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

More pantos in Devon

Look out for more pantomimes and Christmas shows at these Devon arts venues:

  • The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington

If you know of others please drop me a line.

Christmas light switch ons

Crowds in front of stage at Christmas light switch on in Plymouth city centre
Picture credit: Scott Grenney One Plymouth

Want to take the kids to see your nearest town of city lit up for the festive season? Take a look at my full guide to where to see Devon’s Christmas light switch ons.

Where to meet Santa in Devon 2024

Two children holding presents next to waving Santa at Pennywell Farm

If Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Santa’s grotto, then here’s where to find Father Christmas in Devon in 2024.

Top tip: also see the Christmas events happening at Devon attractions a bit further down this guide. Santa is bound to make an appearance!

*Meet Santa at The Mole Resort in Umberleigh – North Devon

Santa’s grotto is coming to the North Devon. holiday resort and is open to day visitors as well as guests.

Each child will be treated to an audience with the man in red and receive a special gift. Book your session in advance.

There’s also lots of other seasonal activities planned. Fid out about the festive trail and children’s draft workshops on the The Mole Valley website.

Santa at Mole Resort, Umberleigh, selected dates 13 November to 24 December 2023

Lanterns, Lights and Luminations in Brixham – South Devon

This popular event in South Devon returns in 2024 with a magical lantern parade, a firework display, live music, street entertainment, and a market.

The event will include the Christmas light switch on, the arrival of Santa and fireworks.

This event is free to attend.

Lanterns, Lights and Luminations, Brixham Harbour, 23 November 2024.

Father Christmas Experience at Torre Abbey – South Devon

Father and Mother Christmas will be popping into Torre Abbey to meet families before Christmas Day.

Each family will have exclusive time with Father and Mother Christmas and receive a special Christmas gift.

On your visit you will also be able to explore the Abbey and Gardens, visit the Christmas around the World exhibition and take in the festive atmosphere of Winterfest. This will include a Christmas market in the Spanish Barn and free Christmas crafts for children.

Father Christmas Experience, Torre Abbey, Torquay – selected dates 30 November to 15 December 2024.

*Santa’s Grotto at House of Marbles – South Devon

Visit the grotto at House of Marbles to meet Santa and his elves. Sessions are timed and must be booked in advance.

Each child will receive a goodie bag.

Santa’s Grotto, House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey, 25 November to 22 December 2023.

*Christmas grotto at Woodlands – South Devon

Santa sat on throne checking his list

We think the Woodlands Christmas grotto is the best grotto experience in Devon.

It is an intimate family experience that you start by walking though a series of interactive rooms. You are guided by Santa’s elves who point out all the fun details. You then get a private audience with Santa. You can take your own photos or buy a souvenir picture.

Each child receives an age appropriate present, reindeer food and a sweet treat. Adults get a non-alcoholic festive drink. Your ticket price also includes entry to the rest of the park if you do not already hold a season ticket.

The park will also be open during the evening on six nights in December.

Ticket prices are set out on the Woodlands website.

Woodlands, Dartmouth, selected dates from 25 November to 23 December 2023.

Here’s a video I made after our last visit in 2018 – we were invited to a preview for my other website, Tin Box Traveller:

*Santa’s grotto at Tiverton Christmas Markets – North Devon

Tiverton Rotary Club is running its Santa’s grotto alongside the Christmas events at the town’d Pannier Market.

With their help, Santa is making a visit on 25 November and 2, 6 , 9, 16 and 23 December.

Santa’s Grotto, Tiverton Pannier Market, deleted dates from 25 November to 23 December 2023.

*Grotto at Barnstaple Christmas Fayre – North Devon

Meet Santa and Mrs Claus in their grotto at Barnstaple Guildhall during the Christmas Fayre and light switching on event.

The event takes place from 5pm to 8.30pm.

Santa’s Grotto, Barnstaple Guildhall, 30 November 2023.

*Santa’s Grotto Mistletoe Lodge at Green Lanes, Barnstaple – North Devon

Visit Santa to let him know what you are hoping for this Christmas and find out how preparations are going at the North Pole for the big day.

Each child will receive an environmentally friendly keepsake and the chance to have a photo with Santa. Don’t forget your camera.

This is a turn up and take your turn grotto. No advance sales are available.

Santa’s Lodge, Green Lanes shopping Centre, Barnstaple, selected dates 30 November to 24 December 2023.

*Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter – East Devon

Meet Santa and his elves in his winter workshop and receive a Christmas keepsake.

This is a turn up and take your turn grotto. No advance sales are available. Ten percent of proceeds go to charity.

Santa’s Lodge, Princesshay, Bedford Street, selected dates 30 November to 24 December 2023.

Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas – South Devon

Thanks to local sponsorship there’s a free Santa’s grotto being laid on as part of the Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas event.

Children can visit Father Christmas and receive a gift. There’s also farmers market stalls and live entertainment throughout the day.

Kingsbridge Celebrates Christmas, Fore Street, Kingsbridge, 7 December 2024.

Santa by the Seaside at Shoreline Restaurant in Paignton – South Devon

Santa say back in a deck chair on a pier beside the sea
Picture credit: Shoreline

Have a very special breakfast with Santa experience at the Shoreline Restaurant where there will be hot chocolate, pancakes and sweet treats for the kids as well as a breakfast bap and hot drink for their adults.

Booking is essential.

Santa by the Seaside, Shoreline, Paignton, 2 and 9 December 2023.

*Santa’s Grotto at Darts Farm – East Devon

Santa and his elves are back with their grotto at Darts Farm this Christmas. Write a letter to the North Pole, do some Christmas colouring or pop to The Shack where they will be serving delicious hot chocolate and mulled apple juice while you wait.

There will be lots of opportunity to take a perfect festive snap and each child will receive a special Christmas goodie bag to take home.

Pre-book your grotto experience for £15 per child.

Santa’s Grotto, Darts Farm near Topsham, selected dates from 2 to 17 December 2023.

*Breakfast with Santa at Ikea – Exeter

IKEA Family members can meet Santa at IKEA for free on selected dates in December.

Santa, accompanied by his elves, will be handing out an early Christmas present for every child that attends.

Breakfast and drinks will be available to be purchased in the Ikea restaurant.

Places are limited and signing up is essential to receive the Christmas present.

Breakfast with Santa, Ikea Exeter, selected dates from 2 to 21 December 2023.

Sail with Santa and Stuart Line Cruises – East Devon

Meet Santa on the River Exe this Christmas by hopping onboard a Stuart Line Cruises.

There will be magic and balloon modelling, as well as all the usual festive fun on this very special ride including a visit to Santas grotto. For adults there will be commentary about the river, mulled wine and mince pies.

Sail with Santa, Exmouth, selected dates between 7 December and 22 December 2024.

*Santa’s grotto at Woolley Animals, near Winkleigh – North Devon

Book your child’s place to see Santa in his grotto at Woolley Animals this December.

Alongside the grotto will be Christmas market stalls, photo opportunities and as chance to meet all the farm animals.

Spaces for the grotto must be pre-booked.

Santa’s grotto at Woolley Animals, selected dates in December 2024.

*Grotto at Quince Honey Farm, South Molton – North Devon

Santa is coming to Quince with a Christmassy grotto and a gift for his young visitors.

Places must be booked in advance.

Santa’s grotto, Qunice Honey Farm, 2, 9 and 16 December 2023.

Breakfast with Santa at Exe Valley Farm Shop – East Devon

Book a very festive breakfast with Santa and his friends at Exe Valley Farm Shop.

The morning includes a buffet breakfast, a casual chat with Santa, a small gift for children and Christmas activities.

Breakfast with Santa, Exe Valley Farm Shop, 3 December 2023

*Santa’s Grotto at Boringdon Hall – South Devon

Santa will be visiting Boringdon Hall on three dates in the run up to Christmas. As well as the grotto this experience includes a festive afternoon tea and Christmas activities for the whole family.

Book in advance to meet Santa at Boringdon Hall.

Santa’s Grotto at Boringdon Hall, Plymouth, Sunday 3, 10 and 17 December 2023.

*Santa’s grotto at Greendale – East Devon

Graphic of Santa running with a sack on his back

The big man himself will be in residence at Greendale Farm Shop this Christmas!

Book your visit and enjoy Christmassy activities in the queue including colouring, a singalong and giller wishes.

Santa’s Grotto, Greendale Farm Shop, selected dates from 9 to 19 December 2023.

*Santa’s Grotto at Pier Point in Torquay – South Devon

If you’re visiting the Bay of Light illuminations there’s also a chance to Meet Santa at Pier Point on selected days in December.

Children can visit him in his grotto, select a personal gift and enjoy a hot chocolate and cookie at Pier Point afterwards. 

All profits generated from the winter wonderland Christmas grotto will be donated to Rowcroft Hospice.

Santa’s Grotto, Pier Point, Torbay Road, 16 to 23 December 2023.

*Earth Santa at Wildwood Devon – East Devon

Red squirrel looking at Christmas decorations in woodland setting. There is snow falling
© Richard Austin

Santa and his Earth Elves can be found in Wildwood’s Saxon Village outdoor living history centre.

Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of Wildwood, Earth Santa will transport you to a magical era, providing the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable holiday adventure.

In the true spirit of the season, each child will receive a special gift from Earth Santa and have the opportunity to tell him their Christmas wishes and dreams, creating a magical and personalised experience that will be cherished for years to come.

Earth Santa at Wildwood Devon, near Ottery St Mary, East Devon, 18 to 24 December 2023.

Grotto and Christmas Party at Humber Barn – South Devon

Join Three Little Kiwis events for a Santa’s igloo grotto and Christmas Party. There will be a chance to Meet Santa Claus and a gift for each child as well as seasonal treats, crafts and a disco.

Grotto and party, Humber Barn, near Kingsteignton, 21 December 2023

Santa’s Grotto at Shaldon Zoo near Teignmouth – South Devon

Santa will be visiting his animal friends at Shaldon Zoo in December and is setting up his grotto to greet young visitors too.

Grotto tickets cost £10 per child and include entry to the zoo, activities and a goodie bag. There are reduced prices for zoo entry only. Buy all tickets online.

Santa’s Grotto at Shaldon Zoo, 16 and 17 December 2023.

*Santa’s at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens – East Devon

Expect Santa’s snow globe grotto along with a Christmas trail around the gardens.

Details to be announced.

Check the Bicton Park website for the latest information and ticket releases.

Christmas light trails in Devon in 2023

Here’s where to find magical light trails and illuminated installations in Devon this year:

Winter-Fest Light Trail at Crealy near Exeter – East Devon

A brand new light trail is happening as part of Crealy Theme Park & Resort’s festive events.

Explore the park’s rides in the dark alongside magical winter light displays.

Find out more about Winter-Fest Light Trail at Crealy

Winter-Fest Light Trail at Crealy, Exeter, selected dates from 22 November to 06 December 2024

Glow at RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, North Devon

Glow illuminations at RHS garden Rosemoor
Picture credit: RHS Garden Rosemoor

Make memories this festive season by exploring RHS Rosemoor’s magical trail of light and colour with six uplifting soundscapes to guide you through the garden rooms, woodlands and open spaces.

There will also be family entertainment every night. Adult off-peak tickets available at 2023 prices.

Glow at RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, selected dates from 27 November to 30 December 2024

*GloWild at Paignton Zoo

GloWild promo graphic

Paignton Zoo will be ending its centenary year in style with its biggest ever seasonal event. 

GlowWild is an after-dark immersive light experience will feature a stunning array of giant illuminated animals, light tunnels and a silent disco.

Booking is essential and group rates are available.

GloWild at Paignton Zoo, selected dates from 17 November 2023 to 2 January 2024.

Bay of Lights illuminated trail, Torquay, South Devon

Family walking under tree wrapped in fairy lights at Bay of Lights illuminated trail event

The Bay of Lights free light trail is returning to Torbay this winter.

Enjoy a 1.5 mile route along Torquay seafront with glittering and unexpected surprises along the way including a light tunnel, prisms of light and a 12m high Christmas tree.

Bay of Lights, Torquay, 29 November 2024 to 2 January 2025.

*Christmas at Powderham Castle – South Devon

Powderham Castle illuminated with rainbow lights

Powderham Castles light walk returns this Christmas along with indoor festive displays.

See the Castles state rooms transformed for Christmas, wander the Christmas trail around the grounds and book after dusk tickets to experience the light trail.

Christmas at the Castle, Powderham Castle, near Exeter, 1 to 31 December 2023.

Christmas Wonderland Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village – South Devon

Illuminated small town models at Babbacombe Model Village
Illuminations at Babbacombe Model Village

Enter a magical miniature wonderland of festive lights at Babbacombe Model Village this Christmas.

There will be miniature seasonal scenes, a Christmas character spotter sheet and crazy golf. The Christmas lights are on from 3.30pm.

Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay, selected dates from Nov 30th, Dec 1st, 7th, 8th, Dec 14th to 24th, Dec 27th to 31st (closed Dec 25 & 26, Jan 1 2025)

*Zooluminate light trail at Dartmoor Zoo

Zooluminate returns bigger and better this winter. Take a wintery walk around the zoo site to see magical illuminations designed by JHAV, the team that brought you The Atlantic Project and Illuminate Festival of Light.

Dartmoor Zoo Supporter members can visit for free.

Zooluminate at Dartmoor Zoo, Sparkford, from 8 December 2023 to 1 January 2024.

Winter wonderlands in Devon

Here’s the winter wonderlands that have been announced in Devon:

*Plymouth Winter Wonderland

A brand new winter wonderland has been announced for Plymouth in 2023.

This event in Central Park has a real ice rink, a Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, food stalls and live entertainment.

Plymouth Winter Wonderland, Central Park, 24 November 2023 to 1 January 2024.

Polar Express and Santa trains in Devon

Polar Express train travelling through snow storm at twilight

All aboard! Christmas is rolling into Devon with a series of Christmas trains and even the Polar Express.

Expect plenty of festive cheer and maybe even Santa himself in my guide to Christmas trains in Devon.

Christmas events at Devon attractions

Devon’s attractions put on a great show at Christmas with special events and displays during the festive season.

Here’s where you can expect to find events on in Devon this December:

*Toys and Treats Trail at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary – East Devon

Donkeys in their barn at The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth
Picture credit: The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary’s winter trail is themed around Toys and Treats giving visitors the chance to find out about the adoption donkeys’ favourite kind of enrichment.  

The sanctuary’s 200 resident donkeys love to forage for their treats and play with their toys which helps to exercise, excite and entertain them.

Trail sheets cost £5 each and include a prize on completion.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is free to visit and also has a play area, daily talks, engaging hands-on exhibits, a maze to explore and miles of walkways.  

Toys and Treats Trail, Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, daily until 8 February 2024.

Christmas Selfieland in Exeter – East Devon

Devon’s newest Christmas selfie opportunity is offering play sessions for children on Mondays in the run up to Christmas.

Find toys, games and fun activities around 20 festive themed photo booths including a giant gingerbread house, a Kitsch forest and Toy Town. These special sessions are aimed at children aged five and under but there’s plenty for older children to enjoy too.

Christmas Selfieland is located in The Prop Factory on Marsh Green Road North. 

Christmas Selfieland, Marsh Mills, every Monday from 13 November to 11 December 2023

Christmas Nativity at Pennywell Farm – South Devon

Fern the Donkey in stable at Pennywell Farm

Pennywell Farm’s magical Christmas event begins with a welcome from the elves before you are transported back 2,000 years to a nativity scene starring animals from the farm.

There will be plenty of treats for young and old as well as a visit to meet Father Christmas in an enchanted forest. Every child will receive a special present.

If you are interested in going this year read our review of Christmas at Pennywell Farm in 2021.

Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, selected dates form 17 November to 24 December 2023.

Santa Escape room – Bovey Tracey

Frosty is dreaming of a white Christmas so that he can see all of his friends and family during the festive holidays. Can you and your team help his dream come true?

Tackle this festive escape room as a family for a unique Christmas experience. This activity us is designed for children aged seven and over.

Santa Escape – Frosty’s Christmas Wish, Escape the Game, Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey, 17 November 2023 to 7 January 2024.

Christmas at Crealy – near Exeter

Crealy Mascots Buddy and Blossom Bear on ice skates

Crealy’s Christmas celebrations are set to return this winter. Expect a glittering show, Christmas activities and Santa’s toy shop.

Here’s a taster of what this great Devon Christmas day out has involved in previous years. This year’s event details are yet to be released but the dates have been confirmed. To find out more get on the Crealy mailing list.

Take a look at our full guide to days out at Crealy Adventure Park.

Christmas at Crealy, Exeter, 25 November to 23 December 2023.

Animated Christmas Card Workshop at Exeter Phoenix – Exeter

Use 2D cut out animation to bring to life your very own digital Christmas card!

This workshop is an introduction to 2D cut-out animation providing lots of creative fun for seven to 14-year-olds.

Animated card workshop, Exeter Phoenix Theatre, 18 December 2023.

Christmas at Cotley Farm – East Devon

Two reindeer wearing harnesses in a field at Cotley Farm in Devon
Picture credit: Cotley Farm

Visit the farm’s beautiful resident reindeer – a new baby was born earlier his year – and pick up a locally grown Christmas tree.

As well as this, you can pick up a handmade wreath, explore the Nativity barn, grab a coffee and cake, and shop for beautiful gifts and delicious local produce in the Christmas Farm Shop.

Cotley Farm, near Ottery St Mary, 25 November to 24 December 2023

Christmas at Bear Town, Cullompton – Mid Devon

Visit Santa’s grotto without having to queue using Bear Town’s ingenious system. Each family receives their own Christmas buzzer, a special device that Father Christmas will activate when he’s ready to welcome you into his magnificent grotto!

Meanwhile your little one can enjoy playing.

Once the buzzer twinkles to life, you will embark on an immersive journey through a winter woodland with the help of an elf.

Bear Town, Cullompton, selected dates from 2 to 24 December 2023.

Clovelly Christmas Lights – North Devon

Head to Clovelly from 4pm on 3 December 2023 to see the Christmas Lights switched on. The local brass band will procession down to the harbour where there will be carols, a hog roast and other festive refreshments.

Don’t miss a visit from Father Christmas himself and seeing the entire village and harbour lit up.

The grand finale is a firework display to add even more sparkle to this opening event to the Clovelly Christmas season.

Entrance fee: £10 per car at the Visitor Centre after 2pm. All proceeds to RNLI.

Clovelly Christmas Lights, Clovelly Village, 3 December 2023.

Christmas Ball at Greendale Farm Shop – East Devon

Bring your little ones to the Farm Shop for a special Christmas Ball that’s sure to get them into the swing of the season!

There will be two hours of fun and festive entertainment, including the chance to meet six Disney characters, as well as visiting Santa in person and receiving a gift. A hot meal for each child is also included in the ticket price.

Book your places in advance.

Christmas Ball, Greendale Farm Shop, 16 December 2023.

Christmas holiday craft workshops at Pom Stitch Tassel – South Devon

Join Pom Stitch Tassel and friends this festive season for a fun-packed Christmas holidays full of crafting & sewing.

Festive workshops include:

  • Create a gingerbread house or gingerbread house decorating with Just Ginger
  • Create a pom pom robin hoop wreath
  • Children’s beginner sewing workshop: envelope cushion
  • Children’s advanced sewing: create a patchwork stocking
  • Create a cross Stitch Santa

Find out more and book your place on the Pom Stitch Tassel website.

Christmas craft workshops at Pom Stitch Tassel, Bovey Tracey, 19 to 22 December 2023.

Christmas at National Trust properties in Devon

Here’s the National Trust properties putting on special events this Christmas:

Christmas at Arlington Court

Stable decorations for Christmas at Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon
Picture credit: National Trust, Hannah Burton

See Arlington House decorated in all the splendour of a Victorian Christmas, from the sumptuous dining room and the Ante Room to the White Drawing Room, where the family traditionally opened their presents, to the Staircase Hall with a 16ft real Christmas tree and decorated balustrades.

Next head out on a wintery adventure and take part in the free festive family fun activity trail to discover 10 of of the team’s favourite trees from its ‘200 trees for 200 years project’.

There’s also a Christmas Carol walk on selected dates in December where you can walk around the lake to find the giant ’12 days of Christmas’ baubles.

Finally, Father Christmas is bringing his festive grotto to the stables harness room for one weekend. Visits must be booked in advance.

General admission is free for National Trust members.

Christmas at Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, Saturday to Monday from 18 November to 17 December and daily between 18 and 31 December.

Christmas at Saltram

Child with Father Christmas at National Trust property
©National Trust Images-Rob Stothard

Saltram’s 18th century pleasure garden will be brought to life within the walls of its luxurious house this Christmas as the National Trust brings the outside in.

Each room will transport you into a beautiful festive landscape, with wow moments around every corner and some woodland friends to lead you on your Christmas adventure. 

There’s also a Christmas family trail, and songs and stories with Father Christmas including relaxed and BSL signed sessions (booking essential).

Christmas at Saltram, Plymouth, from 24 November 2023 to 2 January 2024.

Christmas at Greenway

Visitor looking at map beside decorated tree at Greenway
©National Trust Images – James Dobson

Agatha Christie’s former holiday home will be hosting an outdoor trail with the theme ‘The Twelve Wreaths of Christmas’.

The house will also be decorated in a traditional Christmas style and there will be free festive crafts.

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Greenway this Christmas, Brixham, South Devon, 25 November to 31 December 2023

Christmas at Coleton Fishacre

Baubles on a traditional christmas tree
Picture credit: National Trust / Lauren Hutchinson

Embrace a chilly winter’s day with a magical experience at Coleton Fishacre this Christmas.

Inspired by the South Devon coastline in winter, the house is being dressed for ‘Winter Tide and Time’. There will be sparkling lights, interactive features and seasonal selfie stations.

Outside take a bracing walk around the coastal garden with its wonderful sea views and warm up with a treat at the cafe. The shop will also be open selling sustainable Christmas gifts and decorations.

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Christmas at Coleton Fishacre, weekends from 25 November to 17 December and daily from 20 to 24 and 27 to 31 December 2023.

Christmas at Knightshayes 

Knightshayes Court Great Hall decorated for Christmas
©National Trust Images, Tony Cobley

Discover Victorian Christmas traditions as you explore the ground floor of Knightshayes house this festive season.

Each room will celebrate a different Christmas tradition from gift giving to ghost stories.

On selected nights the gardens are being lit up for a light trail and Father Christmas will be telling stories in his grotto. Sessions to meet Santa must be booked in advance.

General admission is free for National Trust members.

Christmas at Knightshayes, selected dates from 2 December 2023 to 1 January 2024.

Christmas at Buckland Abbey

The Great Barn at Buckland Abbey, near Plymouth opens its doors for Christmas  with over a hundred twinkly trees and watery light illuminations.
Picture credit: National Trust

Step back in time at Buckland Abbey at its Tudor Frost Fair. The barn will be filled with trees and twinkling lights to create a beautiful and frosty display. 

Choirs will perform in the Great Barn throughout December and the Abbey will also be dressed for a very frosty Christmas. 

Please note that this is a historical and Christmas tree display, all stalls will be displays and will not have goods for sale. 

Alongside the displays there will be Christmas storytelling on selected dates and Children’s Christmas block printing workshops (booking essential).

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Great Tudor Frost Fair, Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, 2 to 31 December 2023.

Father Christmas at Castle Drogo 

Father Christmas in the Library at Castle Drogo, Devon
©National Trust Images – Trevor Ray Hart

Father Christmas is making room in his busy schedule to come and visit Castle Drogo. Families can book a visit with him for a story by the fireside.

Quiet sessions are also available for children not so keen on crowds. 

General admission is free for National Trust members.

Father Christmas at Castle Drogo, selected dates from 2 to 21 December 2023.

Heddon Valley Christmas trail 

Enjoy the great outdoors this Christmas and take part in the Heddon Valley Christmas trail. The route goes to the beach and back and is suitable for an all terrain pushchair. 

Unfortunately wheelchairs are not suitable for this route, however Trampers are available to hire. 

The trail is free to do and does not require booking.

Heddon Valley Christmas trail, near Parracombe, from 16 December 2023 to 7 January 2024.

Devon Christmas markets and fairs in 2023

Friends Buying Candies On Christmas Market

What better way to enjoy the festive season than with a mulled cider and bratwurst while browsing locally produced gifts?

Read my full guide to Christmas markets in Devon.

Family New Year parties in Devon

Here’s the best places to celebrate the new year with your kids:

Bubblicious family raves with the Soapbox Theatre, Plymouth

Join The Soapbox Theatre for a special family-friendly dance party to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

The clock will be re-set and will count down to and early midnight at two sessions one starting at 1pm and another at 4pm.

Guest DJ’s will play an eclectic mix of dance music from old skool to new skool. Other activities include UV face painting, bubbles, walkabout performers, arts and crafts chill-out area and lots more to keep everyone entertained.

Bubblicious, The Soapbox Theatre, Devonport, 31 December 2023.

Looking for more things to do between Christmas and New Year? Check out my guide to Twixmas in Devon.

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

Where to buy a Christmas tree in Devon

If Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree here’s where to buy a Christmas tree in Devon:

Phew, what a lot there is going on this Christmas in Devon! What takes your fancy? I’m sure there’s events I’ve missed so please do get in touch if you think something should be added.

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Grab your copy of this guide to family-friendly things to do across the county, from coast to coast, in the cities, on the moors and whatever the weather.

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Planning your festive days out? Why not save this post about what’s on and things to do this Christmas in Devon.

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Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Dartmoor Zoo are also organising a light trail if you wanted to add them to your list

Claire Hall

Thursday 21st of September 2023

Fantastic, thanks for letting me know!

Things to do on holiday in Devon this winter 2022/23 - Nethway

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

[…] In fact, Christmas is a big event in Devon. From early November you’ll find a packed calendar […]


Sunday 26th of September 2021

You left off The Soapbox Theatre in Devonport. They always do an amazing Xmas show

Claire Hall

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I believe they're going to send me the details so I can add them :)


Friday 20th of November 2020

Thank you, this is really helpful in planning kid activities this year ! X

Claire Hall

Monday 23rd of November 2020

Hi Lucy, you are very welcome. I'm glad you've found it useful.

The 15 Best UK Christmas Markets In 2020

Thursday 17th of September 2020

[…] Or check here for lots more things to do at Christmas in Devon […]

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